A CDL drivers license is necessary when drivers want to legally operate commercial vehicles throughout the U.S. Motorists who want to get a commercial drivers license in their respective states must hold valid driver’s licenses issued from their state motor vehicles department. Drivers need commercial drivers licenses if they want to operate motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more and vans that can transport more than 15 passengers. A motorist can obtain a commercial drivers license from the state DMV after satisfying several requirements and submitting the applicable documentation along with a payment of CDL fees. In addition, the CDL license requirements may vary based on the class of licensure you want to apply for. Therefore, motorists who want to find out more CDL information are highly encouraged to read the sections below:

  • CDL classifications.
  • Requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license.
  • Required documents for a commercial driver’s license.
  • Fees for a commercial driver’s license.

Click on the map below for information specific to each state.

CDL Classifications

Prior to obtaining a commercial drivers license, motorists must choose the CDL classification they need to get, depending on the type of vehicle they own and its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). From the beginning, drivers who are wondering how to get a commercial drivers license are required to decide for which class of CDL they will apply, because the class will later determine the CDL endorsements that they may obtain. Generally, there are three classes of CDL licenses in the U.S. and those are: Class A, B and C. Each class is required for operating different types of commercial vehicles. However, obtaining one of the commercial drivers license classes may allow you to drive under other classes as long as you obtain specific endorsements.

Requirements for Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License

Once you select the class of CDL license you want to obtain, you have to satisfy both federal and state requirements set by the Department of Motor Vehicles. First, drivers can apply for commercial drivers licenses if they satisfy the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements. Under federal rules, drivers are required to be at least 21 years of age and to have no prior criminal offenses on their driving records that may disqualify them from applying for a CDL. Generally, drivers will have to satisfy certain CDL application requirements that are specific for every state. Those requirements usually include holding a commercial learners permit for a specific amount of time, paying the applicable fees, providing a commercial vehicle for the skills test and passing the CDL skills. Getting a CDL involves taking a skills test which will include an inspection of your vehicle, examining of the basic controls and passing of a road test. Moreover, CDL license applicants may have to satisfy additional requirements such as enrollment in a CDL training course, depending on the state DMV regulations.

Required Documents for a Commercial Driver’s License

A significant part of the CDL license application process is providing the required documents, which may vary based on the state and on whether you hold a commercial learners permit or not. Most of the states CDL license requirements are that drivers to first obtain and hold a commercial learners permit for a specific amount of time prior to applying for a CDL. When applying for a CDL driving license or permit, drivers are usually required to provide the following:

In addition to these documents for a CDL license or permit, drivers are required to pass both written and a skills test, as well as a payment for the applicable fees.

Fees for a Commercial Driver’s License

The final step in the procedure for how to obtain CDL license in your state is the payment of applicable fees. Payment for the full cost of CDL must be provided in application for the credential. Note that the CDL license price varies from one state to another. Therefore, CDL applicants who are wondering “How much does it cost to get a CDL?” must contact their state motor vehicles department and find out the exact CDL prices.

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